- Wary of a rise in number of COVID-19 cases, the government has made negative RT-PCR reports a mandatory requirement for air travellers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
- In its latest guidelines for international travellers, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry has said a pre-departure test conducted 72 hours before the journey will be mandatory from January 1 for passengers from these five countries.
- Travellers arriving in India will also have to fill a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal, besides uploading a copy of their RT-PCR test report.
- The International Air Transport Association, which represents more than 300 airlines across the world, opposed the decision. “India’s decision to reintroduce COVID-19 testing is disappointing and a step backward,” said Philip Goh, IATA’s regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific.
- He added that governments needed to respond based on science and facts, and experience from the past three years showed that travel restrictions and testing requirements were ineffective. “Testing requirements have a negative impact on travel as people tend to avoid being tested,” he added.
- The impact of the move on travel demand will be known in the days to come.
- “The announcement is unlikely to have an immediate impact as bookings are done much in advance. However, going forward we might see some drop,” said Rajiv Mehra, Indian Association of Tour Operators.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB